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Changes to Your Body

  • 20 minutes after your last cigarette
    • Blood pressure and pulse rate drop to normal 
    • Body temperature of hands and feet increase
  • 9 hours
    • Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
    • Oxygen level in blood increases to normal
  • 24 hours
    • Chance of heart attack decreases
  • 48 hours
    • Nerve endings start to regrow
    • Ability to smell and taste is enhanced
  • 72 hours
    • Bronchial tubes relax; breathing is easier 
    • Lung capacity increases
  • 2 weeks to 3 months
    • Circulation improves
    • Walking becomes easier
    • Lung function increases up to 30%
  • 2 to 9 months
    • Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath decrease
    • Cilia regrow in lungs, increasing ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, reduce infection
    • Energy level increases
  • 5 years
    • Lung cancer rate for the average smoker decreases from 137/100,000 people to 72/100,000. Cervical cancer rates falls to that of a nonsmoker.
  • 10 years
    • Lung cancer rate drops to 12/100,000 people
    • Precancerous cells are replaced
    • Decrease in other cancers, particularly mouth, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas
  • 15 years
    • Risk of cancer similar to a non-smoker

Illinois Tobacco Quitline


Some people call this withdrawal, but it’s your body recovering from what tobacco has done to it.

To speed up recovery, drink a lot of fluids especially the first few days (6 - 8 glasses of water or juice a day is ideal). This flushes nicotine out of your system more rapidly.

Although uncomfortable, these things are much less harmful to your body than cigarettes. Symptoms will be the strongest in the very beginning. Be prepared and expect that many of these will happen —

  • Confusion
  • Nervousness
  • Crying
  • Mood Swings
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiousness
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Constipation
  • Sleeplessness
  • Itchy Skin
  • Forgetfulness
  • Shakiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle Cramps

Be ready for some people to be very supportive while others will not.


Relapses happen, most in the first three months. Don’t be hard on yourself or someone you might be trying to help. It takes the average person 5 - 7 tries to quit for good.

  • Don’t judge. Be positive.
  • View the attempt as a learning experience.
  • You’re “learning how to quit,” not “failing.”
  • What can you change next try?
  • Don’t try to quit on your own.

Following a plan and having support makes quitting easier. The Quitline is a free service with free tools so you can quit for good.

Are You Ready to Quit?
Illinois Tobacco Quitline

Take the Readiness Quiz

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